Jamie Chung says pandemic was a ‘wake up call’ for self-care

Jamie Chung, actress and spokesperson for Petco's Together Strong campaign, joins Yahoo Life on this episode of The Unwind. Like many of us, Chung struggled through her time in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic, telling Yahoo Life that she "did not adjust very easily." But throughout the year spent just with close family and friends the actress says that she learned the importance of self-care.

Video Transcript

JAMIE CHUNG: Throughout the entire pandemic, the wake-up call was that we need to take care of ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves mentally. We need to take care of ourselves physically. You only have one life. And it's important that you put yourself first. I have to say like I did not adjust very easily. It was pretty difficult for me.

In terms of staying on top of fitness, that wasn't the most important thing for me. It was holding onto community. That was my biggest thing. I had my husband and my dog. Once we kind of got into the swing of things, we expanded our pod and just having communal dinners safely, sharing a meal, having a conversation, going camping was really important. It kind of brought things back to the basics.

When it comes to humanity, we often need to find a scapegoat or someone to blame. I saw all the violence uptick in Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, San Francisco. I mean I was terrified for my parents who are much older who go for their daily walks in San Francisco. I'm scared for my sister and her wife.

It was important, first and foremost, to get the word out that these acts of hate were happening and just sharing the news and getting everyone aware so that they can be on guard. We come from a community of people where we don't want to make a fuss, and we keep our head down. And we do the hard work, and we never speak out. So it was important to encourage people to speak out.

We're looking for long-term change. We're looking for policies to be really harsh on hate crimes. There's still so much work to be done, but we're in a phase where we need to keep this conversation going. You're still grossly mis-underrepresented in media, in films, and TV. I think it's so important that we share our stories. And it's important that we tell the stories from our perspective.

I think my entire life, especially as a female Asian, it's like, oh, you know, just be really small. Don't take up space. Don't be a bother. And it's like just take up the space. Be unapologetic. You deserve to be there.

My mother is a cancer survivor. She's been in remission for a decade now. We caught the cancer at a very early stage. And so she beat the cancer. Now with pets, we don't realize is that cancer is the number one disease for cats and dogs. My dog, Ewok, he's a member of the family. He's such an important part in our lives. He helps with my anxiety, helps with my depression, and I would be devastated if anything happened to him.

What we're trying to do with this campaign, Together Strong, is to get the word out that cancer is just as aggressive as it is in humans and that we have to do routine checkups and that there is new technology out there to help catch this cancer in the early stages. Cancer is never-- it's not going away. We just need to have more conversations about it. We need to do our routine checkups, as well as your pets. This entire year made me realize that it's really important that we take care of ourselves.